President Trump approves federal reimbursements for Florence-related response costs

SC Department of Transportation crews work to erect a flood barrier along the U.S. Highway 501 Bypass outside Conway (Image: SCDOT)

President Donald Trump has approved federal reimbursements for any South Carolina or local government costs associated with responses to Tropical Storm Florence.

The state Emergency Management Division says the president approved Gov. Henry McMaster’s request for disaster relief on Monday. The declaration covers the five coastal counties under last week’s evacuation order — Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown and Horry, along with Marion, Orangeburg and Williamsburg counties further inland.

The designation allows agencies to get up to 75 percent reimbursement from FEMA for storm work in those counties. It also offers a similar match after the storm for infrastructure repairs and “hazard mitigation” to help ease future impacts. The number of counties will likely increase as flooding worsens later this week.

Elizabeth Turner has been named as the federal coordinating officer in the affected area. Turner said additional designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

 

Flooding concerns now as rain from Florence remnants makes way downriver into SC

SC Dept. of Transportation crews work to put up a flood-control barrier along Highway 378 outside Lake City (Image: SCDOT)

Authorities have ended evacuation orders for the entire South Carolina coast, as attention now shifts to potential flooding concerns along the Pee Dee River basin.

Tropical Depression Florence picked up speed as of Sunday afternoon after it spent Saturday crawling across the Pee Dee region. It continued to dump rain along the North Carolina border, with a high of 16 inches reported near Chesterfield around 2 p.m. Sunday with more expected.

Evacuations have begun along the Little Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers due to fears they could rise to flood level as rainwater from North Carolina gradually makes its way south. Flooding has been reported in Chesterfield, Marion and Marlboro counties. More than 400 people have been evacuated due to flash flooding concerns.

“They have not crested, they have not even begun yet,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “But they will. And the question is: how high will the water be? And we do not know.” [Read more…]

SC transportation officials work to secure Pee Dee bridges amid flooding fears

Image: Myrtle Beach Police Department

As Tropical Storm Florence moved further to the north than initially predicted, South Carolina has been spared most of its potential wind damage. However, officials have now shifted their concern to potential flooding across the Pee Dee.

Transportation Secretary Christy Hall says officials are concerned four bridges across the Pee Dee could be overtopped by floodwaters.

“Those four bridges we predict will be topped by floodwaters possibly late on (Monday), possibly early (Tuesday),” she told reporters during a briefing on Saturday.

Those bridges are U.S. Highway 501 at Gallivants Ferry along the Little Pee Dee River, along the Lumber River at S.C. Highway 9 near Nichols and S.C. Highway 917 near Mullins and the Highway 9 bridge over the Waccamaw River near Longs. [Read more…]